In the not-so-distant past, ownership of an electric car faced many obstacles: lack of vehicle charge points, an unattainable price tag and similarly priced maintenance costs. But, thanks to some recent developments, owning an electric car is closer than ever to being reality for the average consumer.
Government boosts to charging infrastructure
In the past two weeks, the government announced the latest in a number of recent moves to accelerate the adoption of electric cars the UK: the creation of a £400 million fund to boost Britain’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure. This includes £70m for 3,000 new rapid charge points, bringing the number of rapid charge points across the UK to 5,000 by 2024. This follows the Department for Transport’s pledge in August of a further £2.5m in funding for chargepoints on residential streets, and in July the Government promised to invest £37m in new charging innovations for people without access to off-road parking, including solar-powered forecourts, underground charging systems and electric vehicle wireless charging systems.
Dropping cost of EVs
As for the cost of electric vehicles, there’s even more good news. Though initially the reserve of only the well-off, electric vehicles continue to drop in price, coming increasingly within the budget of the ordinary consumer. Within the past month VW announced their launch of a Golf-sized electric-only vehicle that will go on sale in mid-2020 for less than £27,000. Called the ID.3, it will offer a 260-mile range and give Tesla’s ‘affordable’ Model 3 a run for its money; a cheaper, smaller 45kWh variant will follow, as well as a longer-range 77kWh model. For the more budget-minded, there’s the popular Renault Zoe, which has a range of 245 miles and can be had for less than £20,000.
As an added price bonus, the Government provides a grant of up to £3,500 towards a new electric or plug-in hybrid car.
This trend towards lower prices looks set to continue, with the number of models and price ranges set for a dramatic increase. In fact, according to a projection by Bloomberg, the cost of electric vehicles could rival those of their internal-combustion counterparts by the mid-2020s.
Ever-growing sales of new electric vehicles can only mean that the number of even-more-affordable used vehicles will surge, putting ownership of an electric car within the grasp of those who thought they’d never be able to buy one.
EV battery life reassurance
Even though the cost of buying an EV has dropped, many still worry about the lifespan of an EV’s battery, and the potential cost of replacing it. Rest assured, though: the average lithium-ion battery will last between eight and 10 years before its performance drops to 70% or less of what it was when the battery was new. But because so many buyers do worry about how long their electric car’s battery will last, many car manufacturers offer warranties. For example, the Nissan Leaf has a warranty covering the battery and electric motor for up to five years or 60,000 miles, while Renault offers a warranty that covers the Zoe electric hatchback for up to 100,000 miles or three years. Tesla’s Model S comes with an eight-year warranty that’s not subject to any mileage restrictions and can be transferred between owners.
As with the purchase cost of electric vehicles, the cost of lithium-ion batteries is set to decline, thanks to improvements in technology and manufacturing as well as an anticipated drop in the price of lithium owing to a worldwide oversupply.
As long as government support continues, and technological advances deliver advantages, we’re closer than ever to achieving the low-carbon future that can help safeguard the planet’s well-being – as well as our own.
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